We all suffer from health hiccups from time to time. However, these can quickly turn into recurring health complaints, which can have a substantial impact on quality of life, if left unresolved. From a noisy stomach to migraines and hot-flushes, below are five common health concerns and the steps you can take to help manage them.

Health on Female First

Health on Female First

Migraines

Migraines are often accompanied by digestive symptoms and there is a clear association between the prevalence of migraines and many digestive disorders. Low levels of beneficial gut bacteria can contribute to gut hyper-permeability (“leaky gut”), which is a risk factor for inflammation. It is thought inflammatory compounds originating from the gut may potentially act on the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway in the brain, triggering migraine attacks. Newly emerging research indicates that live bacteria supplements may be of benefit. A recent clinical trial found that the 14 strains of live bacteria in Bio-Kult Migréa (www.bio-kult.com), significantly reduced both episodic and chronic migraine frequency and severity and reliance on medication in as little as eight weeks.[1] It also contains magnesium and B6 both of which contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system, and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, which often accompany migraine attacks.

Growling stomach

Bowel sounds are most often a normal occurrence related to the movement of food, liquids, digestive juices, and air through your intestines. As such normal bowel sounds don’t generally require any treatment. However, taking time over your food, eating mindfully, chewing food well and avoiding using straws may mean that you swallow less air, and so may help reduce symptoms.

Bowel sounds that accompany digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other symptoms such as bloating, excess gas, diarrhea, constipation, reflux or feelings of fullness may indicate that there is an imbalance in the digestive tract. For example, dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut bacteria) is common in those suffering with IBS and live bacteria supplements have been shown to potentially reduce rumbling and gurgling noises in those with the condition.[2]

Hot flushes

Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been traditionally used to treat sweating and menopausal hot flushes, as well as to alleviate associated menopausal symptoms. In recent years, this traditional use has been verified by a clinical trial showing the use of sage preparations to significantly decrease frequency and severity of hot flushes in menopausal women.[3] Having a couple of cups of freshly prepared sage tea each day may therefore be beneficial. To make simply:

  • Bring 1 litre/4 cups of water to the boil
  • Add 1tbsp of dried sage leaves
  • Stir and remove from heat
  • Cover and let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes
  • Strain (so the infused water doesn’t go bitter)
  • Let it cool down and serve either at room temperature or cold from the fridge for a cooling effect
  • Sip throughout the day

Heartburn

Whilst gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), commonly referred to as reflux or heartburn, is often associated with having excess stomach acid, many people don’t realise is that it can also be a sign of low stomach acidity. Stomach acid production can easily become supressed in times of stress and as we age. When our stomach acid is low, food is thought to sit in the stomach for longer, where it can start to ferment, potentially contributing to symptoms of reflux. To help stimulate stomach acid and digestive enzyme production, mixing a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar with a little water and/or adding a few drops of digestive bitters to some water and drinking shortly before eating may be useful. For those with severe symptoms, betaine hydrochloride or digestive enzyme supplements may be needed.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs (often referred to as ‘cystitis’) are incredibly irritating and uncomfortable, and at their worst can lead to more serious kidney infections. In more than 80% of cases UTIs are caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria Escherichia coli (E.Coli),[4] which finds its way into the urinary tract from the digestive system or vagina. Cranberry extract has long been known to benefit those suffering with UTIs due to the flavonols they contain, known as proanthocyanidins (PACS), which are thought to help prevent E.coli from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract.[5] In fact in one study, a daily dose of cranberry extract containing 36mg of PACs (type A) was found to be as effective as the commonly prescribed antibiotic trimethoprim, without the adverse side-effects.[6] Cranberry extract is preferential to cranberry juices, which often contain lots of sugar or artificial sweeteners. In addition, live bacteria supplements help to support a healthy gut, vaginal and urinary microflora, and the immune system to fight infections. Those that are prone to recurrent UTIs may be best advised to supplement on an on-going preventative basis, rather than waiting for acute symptoms to manifest.

Words by Hannah Braye, Nutritional Therapist at Bio-Kult (www.bio-kult.com)

Sources

  1. Martami F, Togha M, Seifishahpar M, et al. The effects of a multispecies probiotic supplement on inflammatory markers and episodic and chronic migraine characteristics : A randomized double-blind controlled trial. Cephalalgia 2019; 0: 1–13.
  2. KAJANDER K, HATAKKA K, POUSSA T, FARKKILA M, KORPELA R. A probiotic mixture alleviates symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome patients: a controlled 6-month intervention. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2005; 22: 387–94.
  3. Bommer S, Klein P, Suter A. First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. Adv Ther 2011; 28: 490–500.
  4. Ronald A. The etiology of urinary tract infection: Traditional and emerging pathogens. Disease-a-Month 2003; 49: 71–82.
  5. Beerepoot, M., Terriet, G., Nys, S., Vanderwal, W., Deborgie, C., Dereijke, T., Prins, J., Koeijers, J., Verbon, A., Stobberingh, E., Geerlings S, Kapoor A, Hsia IK, et al. Cranberry or trimethoprim for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections? A randomized controlled trial in older women. Arch Intern Med 2003; 46: 500.
  6. McMurdo MET, Argo I, Phillips G, Daly F, Davey P. Cranberry or trimethoprim for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections? A randomized controlled trial in older women. J Antimicrob Chemother 2008; 63: 389–95.

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